First published in Trespass Magazine on the 4th of November, 2009.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed myself shifting, craving, veering towards a life of simplicity. A life that isn’t constantly rushed, entirely sorted out and reliant on adrenalin. I crave a life that’s calm, every so often. That’s still, sometimes. That’s wonderfully uncomplicated, always. Since delving into such a life, I’ve found myself much more relaxed. And a world away from convenience.
Convenience is ruining the world; paper cups, plastic forks, foam boxes, throwaway fashion, text messages, microwaves, overnight deliveries from the middle of nowhere to the centre of somewhere, flicking a switch to beat the heat or escape the cold, super fast communication that’s actually communicating very little, food that’s cooked in two minutes, picked up and consumed within five – without even having to step foot out of a house or vehicle, kids that can’t concentrate for longer than the length of an average YouTube clip, people who constantly plan and schedule every moment of their lives, and, the worst of it, noise. Noise is the side dish to everything that was supposed to make our lives easier; washing machines, dryers, mobile phones, dishwashers, computers, electric toothbrushes, fridges, GPS units, mix masters, handheld anythings.
I think it’s time to make our lives harder. Less convenient.
Let’s get back to working hard.
Talking. Face to face. Over a drink. Or alongside a campfire.
Washing Dishes. By hand.
Buying things once, to last.
Building up a sweat. Because it’s hot. And that’s just what happens.
Collecting things; like shells at the beach. Or postcards.
Navigating from the pages of a map.
Feeling a shiver. Because it’s cold. And you’re supposed to.
Making cakes. From scratch. And mixing them. With a whisk.
Driving a couple of hours away, from wherever you are, just to discover someplace new.
Let’s lose the titles; as far as I’m concerned there’s no such thing as a Mortar Logistics Engineer or a Highway Environmental Hygienist or a Media Distribution Officer. There are labourers and road sweepers and paperboys.
Let’s get back to thinking before speaking.
Picking salad from the dirt. In the garden. Not out of a plastic bag. In the supermarket.
Smiling at people when we pass them in the street.
Dressing up, when the occasion calls for it.
Addressing our problems, working through our problems, but ignoring the crap that really doesn’t matter.
Believing that people are kind, and that they do care.
Shining our shoes.
Buying things from the local store. Or green grocer. Or butcher. If you still have one.
Letting clothes drip dry.
Singing in the car.
Let’s get back to aging. Like we’re supposed to. Getting laugh lines. Because we have. Having sunspots. Because we basked in it.
Now, more than ever before in my life, I appreciate simplicity. And I always want it.
I always want to walk out of my back door and feel grass under my bare feet.
I always want fresh air coming through my windows.
Sand that lingers in my car, weeks after I’ve visited the beach.
To pick a lemon from a tree grown in my garden. And an apple. And some rosemary. And tomatoes. And basil. And grapefruit. And parsley.
I always want a spare bed at the ready, for friends who stay too long.
A cabinet filled with quirky knick-knacks from the places I’ve been. Miniature versions of things I’ve seen.
Music playing in the background.
A well greased BBQ.
I always want to feel the arm of the man I love cradling my shoulder.
To trust strangers.
A neighbour I can chat to on a hot summer’s night. Or bank on picking up my mail when I’m away.
I always want to hear kids, making noise – a good kind of noise – like they should.
To eat in a Japanese restaurant, sitting opposite a German, next to a Sri Lankan, near a Russian, and behind an American.
The simple life: a life that requires more actual work than an easy one – more work to keep relationships alive, to eat, to create, to enjoy. That’s what I want. I want to work harder so I can live simpler. I want to do more, so I can rely on less.
In every sense of the word.